(CBS News) A new Missouri law set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2017 has school districts warning students and parents that a school yard fight or bullying could now expose kids to felony charges.
According to a notice sent by the Hazelwood School District, the new law turns third degree assault – defined as causing injury to another person – into a class E felony.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that if the victim suffers “emotional distress” from harassment – reportedly considered a form of bullying – the perpetrator could also be charged with a felony. According to the paper, this new law stems from legislation passed in 2014.
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This law, warns the Hazelwood letter, “may have a drastic impact on how incidents are handled in area school districts.”